First Labour victory inspired by socialism
Many new, renewed and long-standing members turned out in droves to work for our first Labour victory in Sheffield Hallam, largely inspired by the extraordinary resurrection of socialism in the Labour Party which saw Jeremy Corbyn elected as leader.
We started work straight away after the election was called, building on the campaigning groundwork historically undertaken by our branch all year round. We held street stalls, visited the parks, leafleted the entire ward, erected garden stakes and leafleted parents at our schools’ gates. Most importantly, we knocked on a record number of doors to ask our friends and neighbours to support Labour’s comprehensive and inclusive policies, especially the innovative economic policy developed by shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
More and more members and supporters became involved as the campaign progressed. At first we were without a candidate but, after his selection, Jared O’Mara came to join us for our activities, including a street stall at Millhouses also attended by former deputy leader John Prescott.
Sheffield Hallam became a marginal, in which the Tories didn’t stand a chance, in 2015, when Labour slashed the Lib Dem majority to 2353. Once that message started to get through, and after the manifesto, “For the many not the few”, was published, the mood change was tangible. Increasing numbers of people pledged to support Jared and “vote Labour” posters cropped up everywhere. It helped that, in the last few days of the campaign, the website “My nearest marginal” recognised how close the likely outcome in Sheffield Hallam had become.
We were delighted but not surprised by the result. We believed it to be in the interests of all of us who lived in Ecclesall to vote for Labour. We all need the NHS, we use state schools and the younger generation struggles to get mortgages. None of us wants to see people dependent on food banks or begging and sleeping on the streets and none of us wants to be party to the tragic injustices meted out to the needy and the many who have been left behind during the age of austerity.
We now have a magnificent victory to defend. The branch remains active, welcoming new members, ready for the general election, which can’t come too soon, and preparing for the local council election next year.